Tips for homeschooling a reluctant, argumentative kid? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 08-15-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ack, we've only just started this homeschooling adventure, and I am already super frustrated. Which is SO the opposite of what I want this to be.

My DS1 is extremely argumentative/whiny/whatever you want to call it. He has always been like this. He is almost 6 (would be starting K in a couple weeks) and STILL argues with us over brushing his teeth, and other have-to-be-done tasks. This is to give you an idea of his personality...he is also very bright, energetic, intense. However, other than special things, if he was allowed to do whatever he wanted, he would lay on the couch and watch TV, eating junk food. He is not one to really get into a project, or even think of a project that he would like to do "I'm bored" is a daily whine at our house.

We started doing some daily homeschool work last week, and there has been a fight pretty much every day greensad.gif. The actual "work" he needs to do is very little-like 20-30 minutes a day if he wouldn't argue even getting started so damn much. And I've even split it up.

I've explained to him that he HAS to either be homeschooled or go to school-this is the law. He definitely wants to be homeschooled, which we are committed to as well. But he won't stop arguing. I've thought about doing an unschooling approach with him, but as I stated above, he tends to want to do nothing (I am so in awe of all these little kids who come up with and work on all these cool projects). I am comfortable with taking an eclectic approach with a little definite schoolwork, and then following his interests the rest of the time. But at this point there is so much stress, no one is happy with anything. And I know things would not improve sending him to school-then it would be arguing about getting up, homework, behaving the way the school
wants.

Has anyone else ever had someone SO argumentative? How did you turn them around (or did you?) I feel his level of arguing is beyond normal, honestly-for the teeth brushing, going to bed, doing any type of chore, pretty much EVERY SINGLE THING that he himself does not want to do. But I have no idea if it is or not. All i know is that I've been in tears almost every day, as has he, and that is NOT the way I want this journey to go. Any tips would be appreciated-deeply.

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#2 of 29 Old 08-15-2012, 09:07 PM
 
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I will be watching for ideas.  Ds is like this too (we will start next week).  I know for him a schedule is needed as too much "loose" time seems to be too much for him to handle.  He also knows he has to do some stuff if he wants to do special stuff (like swim) or play video games.  Hopefully that currency will help!
 

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#3 of 29 Old 08-15-2012, 10:02 PM
 
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Are there things he really likes or enjoys that you could try hooking the work to? Read to him while he eats... Put the least liked thing right before something he really does like, so he has motivation to get it done... Find a more playful way to get him started, something that connects with his interests or how he's wired? Sorry, it sounds rough!
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#4 of 29 Old 08-15-2012, 10:18 PM
 
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My 6-year-old son is definitely in a defiant, whining stage. (We should get them together.)

 

Long story short: We do 4 days of work each week. If they want to get their Fridays off, they have to have a check for each day. In order to get a check, you actually have to do your work (and not drive me nuts in the process). The boy doesn't have that much to do, either. I just let him know that he WILL get it done and the longer he argues/carries on, the longer it will take.

 

Also, not giving an audience to the whining can also work. When the whining gets bad, I tell them to go to their rooms until they are ready to stop that noise.

 

Hang in there! Its a learning curve for everyone.
 


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#5 of 29 Old 08-15-2012, 10:30 PM
 
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What does interest him? Surely there's something other than screen time and junk food? If there truly isn't, then I would unplug the TV and see what pops up. He'll probably go through a spate of whining boredom if you unplug him, but I'd encourage you to weather it. Make it clear that his boredom is his to solve. You might provide a little guidance, like "Think about whether you want to do something here, or in your room, or outside." Or "I'll give you five possibilities that I can think of, but if you don't like any of them, you'll have to think of your own ideas. I'm sure you can figure something out." 

 

My eldest dd was extremely oppositional. What she needed was lots of autonomy. Tons of it. Things were much better when we just let her organize her own life. but she liked to put blame for her own mistakes and her own negative feelings on others. We just made an effort not to let that stuff stick: if she wanted to control her life, she couldn't get angry at other people when her own choices (or lack of choices) led to consequences she didn't like. We'd help her work through problems, but we wouldn't let the blame stick, and we wouldn't let her spew negativity around. Meaning we just wouldn't engage with her, wouldn't argue, wouldn't get into control battles. We'd just shrug and express confidence that she could work things out.

 

We ended up being unschoolers. And she (eventually) ended up being incredibly driven and self-motivated. All that intensity eventually got used for good. wink1.gif

 

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#6 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 05:52 AM
 
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I could describe my son (also 6) the same way, but I have a different spin on things, more like this part of your post "he is also very bright, energetic, intense".  We are unschoolers in everything except for screen time... generally no screens until mid-afternoon in our house and I would actually like to transition away from this limit as well.  We have ended up unschooling by default almost because school wouldn't be a good fit for DS and he HATES being taught anything that he hasn't asked for information about.  However, he has tons of information accumulated about things like history, geography, literature and natural sciences, mostly from our weekly trips to the library.  He really digs knights, pirates, myths and fairy tales and I've been bringing books from the non-fiction section as well DVDs and stories for the last couple of years and I strew, but with no agenda.  If he's interested, one thing leads to another.  When he's done, he's done.  Every place in our house where you can comfortably sit down has a pile of books at hand.  I mix them up routinely.  We go for a lot of walks where I check out a lot of stuff.  Sometimes DS is interested, sometimes he's just swinging from trees and crashing around on his scooter.  Lately he's beginning to be interested in board games, so some mathematical stuff is becoming relevant to him.  Frankly he's probably "behind" here, but I don't think it's a problem for the moment.  He's started working with sounds and writing and letters lately for some reason.... he has me write lots of notes, he chooses to copy stuff that's relevant, he plays word games.  He sometimes putters around on the games at pbskids and I think he's probably gathered a bunch of info there... his choice.  He stares at Tintins and Asterixes for hours, I'm sure something is percolating there as well... he loves them and I hate reading comic books aloud.  Am pretty sure that they will be the first thing he really devours when he starts reading.

 

I As for stuff like tooth brushing, my kid is the same.  He's got some sensory stuff going on and he needs to be in control.  In the last year he has started brushing more because he is starting to get why you would take care of your teeth.  He likes mouthwash and xylotal gum.  I actually have always been horrible about brushing and have no cavities, DH has always been religious about it and his teeth are practically falling out of his mouth.  We've both always had a good diet.

 

I find the more I am able to relax with my son and transmit information without an agenda, the better we get along and the more open he is to my ideas.  

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#7 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 08:38 AM
 
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We are unschoolers with TV restrictions as well, ones we are slowly easing up on.  We don't have real TV, just videos and that makes it pretty self-limiting.  

 

Much of what I have to say others have said already, I am just commenting on the boredom.  I tell them it's OK to be bored.  Usually it means that either your body is tired but your brain is not, or the reverse.  I let them know that boredom is OK.  Sometimes they are bored because it's just past Christmas or a birthday.  This year is because we showed chickens at the county fair for the first time and we were their every day.  Then the excitement was over.  Bored.

 

Anyhow, one thing I noticed about our old house was that the couch could not be oriented toward a window.  In our new house you can look out the big window and watch the birds and other critters.  I love sitting down and just watching until an idea comes to me.  So, I tell this to the girls (mainly dd1) if they complain.

 

If they are resistantly bored, I can sit with them on the couch and be bored with them.  Or I sit on the porch, and they inevitably come up, if nothing else then to whine some more.  (But I've got them outside at least.)  Often I'll say, "Well I need to fold laundry.  Could you keep me company in the bedroom?"

 

I ask them what they are really thinking of.  Often they are not *really* bored, but they have a specific idea in mind they think they can't get--recently a particular video.  I've been letting them watch one if they can think of a specific one they really want to see.  For kids there is often an idea behind the boredom.  Rarely is it really and truly boredom.  Often, they just want my one-on-on attention for a while-- to sit together and read or watch a video, for example.  If I can time it, I like to have my coffee ready and I'll sit and drink it on the couch and we watch TV.  Or, I'll read the paper curled up next to them.  I let them distract me when they want to start talking.

 

Ask him, if he could do anything--anything at all-- what would he do?  Surprise him sometimes and do it.  If he loved visiting the zoo when his grandma was visiting, and says he really wants to go back, say "I think we could afford that after we get our paychecks on the 1st.  Let's see.... how about that Wednesday?"  Start planning together.  I often say, "The car needs an oil change on Thursday.  We can walk to the farmer's market from there, and stop by the downtown park."  

 

At the farmer's market I bring cash and let them pay.  I let them pick some veggies to try.  At the grocery store, I let them fill the cart and I use self-checkout so they can do it.  I let them grind the coffee in the morning and mix it with cream and sugar for me.  They check out their own books at the library.  I let them put the stamps on the envelopes.  I let them take pictures with the camera.  I give them full access to a wide variety of things, as much as I dare.  They don't have to ask to haul out scissors and tape.  

 

If they have an idea and need me for a minute to get things started I don't say anything more discouraging than "Give me 2 minutes to finish this and I get help get you going."  And I don't say that unless I really need to.   Sometimes I really can't stop, and I tell them if they really want to do it, they'll need to do it withoI try to make myself available when I can, even if they are not asking for me.  I'll just put everything aside and go where they are without anything in mind, just to be there.  They inevitably run up to tell me all they'll been doing.  Sometimes I surprise them and haul out the camera.  (That seems to mark whatever they are doing as Important!)

 

Once, dd1 wanted to make a cake.  I had things I really, really needed to do, and I told her she'd have to start on her own or wait for a day when I could help.  She started to do it herself.  (After about 1/2 hour I did end up helping her.  Sometimes what I think needs to be done seems more overwhelming than it really is!)

 

(I just realized all this makes 4 "A's":  Autonomy, Attention, Access, Availability.)

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#8 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by justthinkn View Post

Are there things he really likes or enjoys that you could try hooking the work to? Read to him while he eats... Put the least liked thing right before something he really does like, so he has motivation to get it done... Find a more playful way to get him started, something that connects with his interests or how he's wired? Sorry, it sounds rough!


This is a good suggestion! Hopefully it's just a phase and everything will start to go smoother again soon.

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#9 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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I wouldn't fight with a 5 year old about doing formal school work.

 

You mention the law, but if you're in North Carolina, he has not reached the age of compulsory education-- you don't have to report as homeschooler until he's 7.  That's 2 years away.  

 

Have you ever read about delayed academics or the Moore Formula?  Many kids, boys especially, are not ready for formal education as young children, and there is a long history of waiting until they are 7 or 8 or 9 to start formal education, and those kids rapidly catch up to their peers.  http://www.moorefoundation.com/article/5/moore-formula

 

You don't need to commit to unschooling to let go of formal schoolwork for the time being.  

 

FWIW, my oldest was similar to your son when she was 6.  Now that she's 11, she's much more open to doing formal work without resistance, and our unschooly early years did prepare her well for the more structured work she is doing now.  When she was 6, I decided that working on her emotional issues was more important than worrying about academics, and that was my primary focus with her-- learning comes easily to her, so she was never behind in a way that concerned me, but she needed help learning to manage her intense feelings.  When I made that decision, I was able to relax about academics and put my energy where it needed to be.  

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#10 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 02:52 PM
 
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He's really young.  For our son who is almost seven (but immature for his age), I keep his workload very light, with short work periods, with nice long breaks between each work period.  He has anxiety about making mistakes, so I give him unlimited help and encouragement.  He needs things to be completely positive right now and build up his confidence for doing school work.  I also bribe him with Minecraft time.  It helps him to have something he really likes to work toward.
 


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#11 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lots of great helpful responses-thanks so much!!!!

Right now, DS has been enjoying being read to-unless he has something else in mind to do. But we've been getting into a couple of series, which is becoming more interesting to him. So that's the minimum we are trying to do in a day.

Savoir Faire, mine also gets sent to his room for incessant whining. He's been there a lot lately.

Ah, the TV and junk food. He loves TV. But he has quite an obsessive personality, so they are limited to one movie a day (barring illness, etc) So a little over an hour. Some days he handles it well-it's been like this for a while. Other days, he starts whining for "quiet time" right after breakfast. I've done some TV-free time in the past, and there is currently no TV, although this was a privilege that was removed as a consequence. Honestly, it's gone better than I expected, although this may be because he has recently discovered books on CD, and is obsessing about that instead. For the junk food, we believe in "everything in moderation" so there is some junk in the house. But he is NOT one of those kids that would limit himself, so.... We've been trying to work on the boredom issue for a LONG time. I've made suggestions, tried asking questions that could spark ideas, to no avail. but it is definitely something we need to continue working on-I like the idea of letting him own his boredom, and also helping him understand he is capable of solving that "problem"

JuniperBCN, I think our boys would get along famously!! smile.gif I feel like we are almost homeschooling by default-my DS would be in constant trouble in school and would shut down, so while not the only reason, definitely a big reason in our decision. I am almost wanting to unschool (and still may) but my DS doesn't seem to really get THAT interested in anything. Except guns-he is also obsessed with guns (god, I'm an AP failure-TV, junk food, guns-the trifecta of AP horror, LOL) So I'm already thinking of ways to incorporate guns into learning-history of war in different countries, physics of how to shoot, etc etc. Probably part of the problem is ME-I don't like to think *MY* kid would be "behind" esp. when he IS so smart. And I read early, etc. I totally have to get over myself in that, I know. DS seems to be really at almost the same place as yours in several areas.

As for the teeth, DS also had sensory issues that he is mostly over/can handle, but it almost seems like the tooth brushing is almost a habit to fight us. But we have spent a large sum of money on fixing a lot of things in his mouth, so that is non-negotiable for us.

OK, going to try the quote function, see if it feels like working for me tonight

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#12 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wouldn't fight with a 5 year old about doing formal school work.

You mention the law, but if you're in North Carolina, he has not reached the age of compulsory education-- you don't have to report as homeschooler until he's 7.  That's 2 years away.  

Have you ever read about delayed academics or the Moore Formula?  Many kids, boys especially, are not ready for formal education as young children, and there is a long history of waiting until they are 7 or 8 or 9 to start formal education, and those kids rapidly catch up to their peers.  http://www.moorefoundation.com/article/5/moore-formula

You don't need to commit to unschooling to let go of formal schoolwork for the time being.  

FWIW, my oldest was similar to your son when she was 6.  Now that she's 11, she's much more open to doing formal work without resistance, and our unschooly early years did prepare her well for the more structured work she is doing now.  When she was 6, I decided that working on her emotional issues was more important than worrying about academics, and that was my primary focus with her-- learning comes easily to her, so she was never behind in a way that concerned me, but she needed help learning to manage her intense feelings.  When I made that decision, I was able to relax about academics and put my energy where it needed to be.  

Yes, he has until 7. Although, I was told (and perhaps incorrectly as I did not take the time to check yet) that he would have to be enrolled for the year in which he would be 7 (not 7 before school starts) so that would only be 1 year. Like I said, I have not checked this at all, as we have at least the one year. I have just told my son it's the law he has to be schooled in some fashion. For him, knowing his personality, letting him know about the 7 years old thing, would only serve to give him one more thing to argue about. LOL. The boy could argue that the sky was green and the grass blue, I swear. But I understand what you're saying. I need to read that article-I have been seeing more and more info about delaying academics, and it does resonate with me. And I do need to focus on helping him manage his intense feelings as well-I remember a quote from Dr Sear's Fussy baby book that fits him perfectly-"sunshine and smiles; anger and daggers"-there is no in between with him. Than you for reminding me to work on this-it will help him more in the long run than being able to read at 6 will.

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#13 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's really young.  For our son who is almost seven (but immature for his age), I keep his workload very light, with short work periods, with nice long breaks between each work period.  He has anxiety about making mistakes, so I give him unlimited help and encouragement.  He needs things to be completely positive right now and build up his confidence for doing school work.  I also bribe him with Minecraft time.  It helps him to have something he really likes to work toward.

 

DS is also a perfectionist-has been since a baby, so that impacts his willingness to work as well-if it's "hard" he doesn't want to do it. We are working on helping him understand that most things need to be practiced before being mastered.

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#14 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are unschoolers with TV restrictions as well, ones we are slowly easing up on.  We don't have real TV, just videos and that makes it pretty self-limiting.  

Much of what I have to say others have said already, I am just commenting on the boredom.  I tell them it's OK to be bored.  Usually it means that either your body is tired but your brain is not, or the reverse.  I let them know that boredom is OK.  Sometimes they are bored because it's just past Christmas or a birthday.  This year is because we showed chickens at the county fair for the first time and we were their every day.  Then the excitement was over.  Bored.

Anyhow, one thing I noticed about our old house was that the couch could not be oriented toward a window.  In our new house you can look out the big window and watch the birds and other critters.  I love sitting down and just watching until an idea comes to me.  So, I tell this to the girls (mainly dd1) if they complain.

If they are resistantly bored, I can sit with them on the couch and be bored with them.  Or I sit on the porch, and they inevitably come up, if nothing else then to whine some more.  (But I've got them outside at least.)  Often I'll say, "Well I need to fold laundry.  Could you keep me company in the bedroom?"

I ask them what they are really thinking of.  Often they are not *really* bored, but they have a specific idea in mind they think they can't get--recently a particular video.  I've been letting them watch one if they can think of a specific one they really want to see.  For kids there is often an idea behind the boredom.  Rarely is it really and truly boredom.  Often, they just want my one-on-on attention for a while-- to sit together and read or watch a video, for example.  If I can time it, I like to have my coffee ready and I'll sit and drink it on the couch and we watch TV.  Or, I'll read the paper curled up next to them.  I let them distract me when they want to start talking.

Ask him, if he could do anything--anything at all-- what would he do?  Surprise him sometimes and do it.  If he loved visiting the zoo when his grandma was visiting, and says he really wants to go back, say "I think we could afford that after we get our paychecks on the 1st.  Let's see.... how about that Wednesday?"  Start planning together.  I often say, "The car needs an oil change on Thursday.  We can walk to the farmer's market from there, and stop by the downtown park."  

At the farmer's market I bring cash and let them pay.  I let them pick some veggies to try.  At the grocery store, I let them fill the cart and I use self-checkout so they can do it.  I let them grind the coffee in the morning and mix it with cream and sugar for me.  They check out their own books at the library.  I let them put the stamps on the envelopes.  I let them take pictures with the camera.  I give them full access to a wide variety of things, as much as I dare.  They don't have to ask to haul out scissors and tape.  

If they have an idea and need me for a minute to get things started I don't say anything more discouraging than "Give me 2 minutes to finish this and I get help get you going."  And I don't say that unless I really need to.   Sometimes I really can't stop, and I tell them if they really want to do it, they'll need to do it withoI try to make myself available when I can, even if they are not asking for me.  I'll just put everything aside and go where they are without anything in mind, just to be there.  They inevitably run up to tell me all they'll been doing.  Sometimes I surprise them and haul out the camera.  (That seems to mark whatever they are doing as Important!)

Once, dd1 wanted to make a cake.  I had things I really, really needed to do, and I told her she'd have to start on her own or wait for a day when I could help.  She started to do it herself.  (After about 1/2 hour I did end up helping her.  Sometimes what I think needs to be done seems more overwhelming than it really is!)

(I just realized all this makes 4 "A's":  Autonomy, Attention, Access, Availability.)

I just can not get the multi-quote thingie to work for me. Anyhow, your post shows how I'd like things to be, at least most of the time. One of my stumbling blocks is our youngest. My THIRD high needs baby. I can barely get the basics of food, dishes and clean clothes accomplished a lot of the time, and it's hard for me to do the things with the older kids that I'd like to be doing. I am pretty much always holding DS2 or, if not, frantically trying to get something done. Things have gotten a little bit better now that he is walking, and now we have gotten him to nap without me. But a lot of the projects the older kids would like to do still need my help, and I just can't do them while holding the baby, who would be screaming and writhing around or grabbing everything. but I need to get better about doing activities and games and projects that I CAN do, and just keep reading to them (although DD will start out listening then go off to play with her dolls) I am just going to keep reminding myself of this, until we CAN start doing the things we want to do.

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#15 of 29 Old 08-16-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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I just can not get the multi-quote thingie to work for me. Anyhow, your post shows how I'd like things to be, at least most of the time. One of my stumbling blocks is our youngest. My THIRD high needs baby. I can barely get the basics of food, dishes and clean clothes accomplished a lot of the time, and it's hard for me to do the things with the older kids that I'd like to be doing. I am pretty much always holding DS2 or, if not, frantically trying to get something done. Things have gotten a little bit better now that he is walking, and now we have gotten him to nap without me. But a lot of the projects the older kids would like to do still need my help, and I just can't do them while holding the baby, who would be screaming and writhing around or grabbing everything. but I need to get better about doing activities and games and projects that I CAN do, and just keep reading to them (although DD will start out listening then go off to play with her dolls) I am just going to keep reminding myself of this, until we CAN start doing the things we want to do.

There should be a drum roll to cue up when parents get overwhelmed at the prospect of HSing their oldest and (drumroll, please) the youngest makes even basic living impossible.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard this.

 

You are having fights about schoolwork with your oldest, who doesn't legally need to be HSed at this point, you don't have time to do projects they *want* to do, and you are burdened by a young one who barely lets you brush your teeth.  

 

If you don't *need* to do anything formal right now, absolutely do not do it.  Take care of yourself, take care of your family, find out when you *do* have to report and just drop it.  

 

To clarify, excepting for the cake example, the things my girls (5.75 and 7.5yo, btw) need help setting up for are...... animals in the sink, paper and tape creations, making farm lists (for about 20 seconds), paper doll stuff (scissors, pens to draw monster faces on them and long black hair, tape to make them "waterproof"), help turning on an outdoor faucet for making mud (this, for example:  http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1360291/just-wanted-a-place-to-post-this), etc.

 

Science experiments are what they find when they play with water and yogurt tubs or glasses ("Hey!  Water is like a magnifying glass!")  We are a long, long way from Waldorf-y craft toys (unless you count drawing eyes on a stick) or any other higher level projects.  If they say it's a barn, well, dammit, it's a barn.  A cow fits!  Hey, it really *is* a barn.  


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#16 of 29 Old 08-17-2012, 03:33 AM
 
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JuniperBCN, I think our boys would get along famously!! smile.gif I feel like we are almost homeschooling by default-my DS would be in constant trouble in school and would shut down, so while not the only reason, definitely a big reason in our decision. I am almost wanting to unschool (and still may) but my DS doesn't seem to really get THAT interested in anything. Except guns-he is also obsessed with guns (god, I'm an AP failure-TV, junk food, guns-the trifecta of AP horror, LOL) So I'm already thinking of ways to incorporate guns into learning-history of war in different countries, physics of how to shoot, etc etc. Probably part of the problem is ME-I don't like to think *MY* kid would be "behind" esp. when he IS so smart. And I read early, etc. I totally have to get over myself in that, I know. DS seems to be really at almost the same place as yours in several areas.

 

Seriously, try and roll with the gun thing.... We got a pretty cool DK book about the history of weapons from the library which got us around to different countries and time periods.  I've seen some interesting books about building weapons (catapults, slingshots, etc) that have lots of physics embedded in the projects, but have been loathe to bring them into the house yet because I'm afraid they'll get used against DD.  Most of the 6-8 year old boys in our homeschool group are obsessed with weapons and we mums end up huddled in groups bemoaning the fact that now they've progressed to automatic weapons or tanks.... One mother nailed when she said that she had been hoping for a "warrior of the light" but so far, she's just got a warrior!  If you're ever in Spain, you could come join the band!

 

Read about the benefits of delayed academics, I find it quite calming!  It might be easier here because Finland constantly comes out on top in terms of European measures of quality of education and they don't start until they're 7... it gives me the perfect excuse, I just nod and mumble "well, in Finland..." and everybody shuts right up.  We'll see what happens when he's 8!

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I have to leave in a minute and only had a chance to read the question line itself, but I wanted a chance to give my advice, as I have TREMENDOUS experience on this!

The 3 biggest things to remember here are:

1) biggest one here is offering GOALS.  when a child feels there's a motivation (something in it for him/her) behind working, they'll work fast!

2) patience, patience, patience (means walking away and thinking first, if needed)!

3) consistent rules, including BOTH rewards and consequences.

 

I hope this helps.

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#18 of 29 Old 08-24-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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My kids were going to be partially home-schooled but we have dropped that idea and gone full-time.  I have found that doing our first lesson at 7:30 in the morning has been helpful.  Shortly after breakfast, my 6 year old is well rested, in a great mood and very motivated.  He is very receptive to doing some of his reading and writing work. After that, he is free until about 2 pm (after his in room, alone rest time) when we do math fact (fast addition stuff).  He does that on the ipad and likes it pretty well.  His total structured instruction time is about 1.5 hours a day.  The rest of the time he plays with his sister, builds with blocks, looks at his books and draws.  He also listens to up to 4 or 5 stories on the ipad and spends a lot of time asking questions about stuff in those stories.  He goes outside for two to three hours a day.  We do not do formal school work during weekends.  This seems to work and I am going to stick to it as a mostly non negotiable schedule.  I find that if I randomly ask him to do work in the day time, he balks and gets upset.  And leaving it up to when he feels like it lead to procrastination and arguments about when and what.  I found that when he knows the consistent schedule of when we do things he is happier.  

 

Maybe you and your son can draw up an agreement and then you be very firm about enforcing it? I found, having a firm schdule of when he does structured work really helped us.  

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#19 of 29 Old 08-26-2012, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There should be a drum roll to cue up when parents get overwhelmed at the prospect of HSing their oldest and (drumroll, please) the youngest makes even basic living impossible.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard this.

You are having fights about schoolwork with your oldest, who doesn't legally need to be HSed at this point, you don't have time to do projects they *want* to do, and you are burdened by a young one who barely lets you brush your teeth.  

If you don't *need* to do anything formal right now, absolutely do not do it.  Take care of yourself, take care of your family, find out when you *do* have to report and just drop it.  

To clarify, excepting for the cake example, the things my girls (5.75 and 7.5yo, btw) need help setting up for are...... animals in the sink, paper and tape creations, making farm lists (for about 20 seconds), paper doll stuff (scissors, pens to draw monster faces on them and long black hair, tape to make them "waterproof"), help turning on an outdoor faucet for making mud (this, for example:  http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1360291/just-wanted-a-place-to-post-this), etc.

Science experiments are what they find when they play with water and yogurt tubs or glasses ("Hey!  Water is like a magnifying glass!")  We are a long, long way from Waldorf-y craft toys (unless you count drawing eyes on a stick) or any other higher level projects.  If they say it's a barn, well, dammit, it's a barn.  A cow fits!  Hey, it really *is* a barn.  

So I have backed off since I wrote this thread...to give myself and DH time to think about things (I made him read this thread-he is not as "into" unschooling). Since then, DS is OK with writing his name and numbers, and we have looked at some stuff online, and we've talked about stuff, and just tried to let go of the negative stuff going on.

Here's a question I have for you as an unschooler...how DO you let go and trust that they will learn what they need?? I believe in the theory, but have a hard time trusting that they will actually pick stuff up. I think that part of this is because I see a lot of people writing that they let their child learn on their own, but then that statement is followed them saying their child was reading by 4, doing math/geography/quantum physics by the time they were 6. (and I do not meant his snarkily!! ) My friends have a little girl who is 4 months older than my DD and she knows all her letters already-not in preschool either. My Dd knows T, O, and possibly M. And has no real interest in learning the rest at this point, although I know she is as bright as my friend's little girl. I don't want to fail my kids, you know?

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#20 of 29 Old 08-26-2012, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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JuniperBCN, I think our boys would get along famously!! 
smile.gif
 I feel like we are almost homeschooling by default-my DS would be in constant trouble in school and would shut down, so while not the only reason, definitely a big reason in our decision. I am 
almost
 wanting to unschool (and still may) but my DS doesn't seem to really get THAT interested in anything. Except guns-he is also obsessed with guns (god, I'm an AP failure-TV, junk food, guns-the trifecta of AP horror, LOL) So I'm already thinking of ways to incorporate guns into learning-history of war in different countries, physics of how to shoot, etc etc. Probably part of the problem is ME-I don't like to think *MY* kid would be "behind" esp. when he IS so smart. And I read early, etc. I totally have to get over myself in that, I know. DS seems to be really at almost the same place as yours in several areas.


Seriously, try and roll with the gun thing.... We got a pretty cool DK book about the history of weapons from the library which got us around to different countries and time periods.  I've seen some interesting books about building weapons (catapults, slingshots, etc) that have lots of physics embedded in the projects, but have been loathe to bring them into the house yet because I'm afraid they'll get used against DD.  Most of the 6-8 year old boys in our homeschool group are obsessed with weapons and we mums end up huddled in groups bemoaning the fact that now they've progressed to automatic weapons or tanks.... One mother nailed when she said that she had been hoping for a "warrior of the light" but so far, she's just got a warrior!  If you're ever in Spain, you could come join the band!


Read about the benefits of delayed academics, I find it quite calming!  It might be easier here because Finland constantly comes out on top in terms of European measures of quality of education and they don't start until they're 7... it gives me the perfect excuse, I just nod and mumble "well, in Finland..." and everybody shuts right up.  We'll see what happens when he's 8!

I'm getting better at ignoring the gun thing, LOL. What does DK stand for? I'd love to look for that book! And yes, the physics, history, math, etc involved in actually shooting something well is something I will definitely be exploiting down the road! If I do come to Spain I will be sending you a message so I can join in your group! (and my DH works for Grifols, which is based in Barcelona, I believe, so it actually COULD happen!

Re the tests scores in Finland etc...I was having a discussion with my boss (which was my first mistake!) about schooling. He is of the push'em hard and all the time mindset. I brought up the test scores of Finland/Sweden/etc. He made a statement about it being due to those countries "genetic homogeneity". It took me a minute to realize what he was saying and I was floored. And could not believe he would actually say that-out loud.

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#21 of 29 Old 08-26-2012, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids were going to be partially home-schooled but we have dropped that idea and gone full-time.  I have found that doing our first lesson at 7:30 in the morning has been helpful.  Shortly after breakfast, my 6 year old is well rested, in a great mood and very motivated.  He is very receptive to doing some of his reading and writing work. After that, he is free until about 2 pm (after his in room, alone rest time) when we do math fact (fast addition stuff).  He does that on the ipad and likes it pretty well.  His total structured instruction time is about 1.5 hours a day.  The rest of the time he plays with his sister, builds with blocks, looks at his books and draws.  He also listens to up to 4 or 5 stories on the ipad and spends a lot of time asking questions about stuff in those stories.  He goes outside for two to three hours a day.  We do not do formal school work during weekends.  This seems to work and I am going to stick to it as a mostly non negotiable schedule.  I find that if I randomly ask him to do work in the day time, he balks and gets upset.  And leaving it up to when he feels like it lead to procrastination and arguments about when and what.  I found that when he knows the consistent schedule of when we do things he is happier.  

Maybe you and your son can draw up an agreement and then you be very firm about enforcing it? I found, having a firm schdule of when he does structured work really helped us.  

I have tried asking him in the past, but it was after we had been arguing, so I need to approach it again. Although, for him, it doesn't matter what time of day it is-he is spoiling for a fight. Ugh!

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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#22 of 29 Old 08-26-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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Here's a question I have for you as an unschooler...how DO you let go and trust that they will learn what they need?? I believe in the theory, but have a hard time trusting that they will actually pick stuff up. I think that part of this is because I see a lot of people writing that they let their child learn on their own, but then that statement is followed them saying their child was reading by 4, doing math/geography/quantum physics by the time they were 6. (and I do not meant his snarkily!! ) My friends have a little girl who is 4 months older than my DD and she knows all her letters already-not in preschool either. My Dd knows T, O, and possibly M. And has no real interest in learning the rest at this point, although I know she is as bright as my friend's little girl. I don't want to fail my kids, you know?

I get you.  And I have no good answer.  My girls are *not* gifted, but they seem to be picking things up at a reasonable pace.  Unusually, they love to share *all* their discoveries with me, so it is easy to know pretty much right where they are at.  I have been told this can be unusual, so I can't credit it to any learning style.  You are right, it is easier to trust when children are precocious.

 

Two things make things easy for me and my family, and this is why I have no good answer:  I have been contemplating HSing since at least a decade before the girls were born, and as a hippy anarchist, things like trusting in a child's ability to learn has come easy to me because I was right there mentally in the first place.  The other easy thing is that my girls seem to be curious about everything, and that could just be the way the dice landed.

 

Two practical things have helped me relax though, and I don't share this advice as an unschooler, but as someone who prefers to delay academics.  One was that for nearly 2 years I have kept a simple calendar/diary on which I recorded every remotely "schoolish" things we did or that the girls shared.  It was extremely helpful, and I only recently stopped doing it so intricately (I have still needed to develop some more trust).

 

The second thing I have done is just to be interested in everything myself.  I don't try, it's just how I am, and I can be a bit of a dweeb about it.  ("How'd we start talking about this, mama?"-- I hear that all the time.)

 

A young child so much younger takes up so much time and attention, and it could be that your son craves the attention that he can't get the way he wants.  And that is a problem I've never had to deal with right now, at the age when you start thinking "I need to start homeschooling".  I dealt with that long before most people even consider it.  So, that's why my advice isn't really all that great.

 

I have heard that you don't need to start with anything academic.  Start where he is at.  If he watches TV, ask him what he likes about his shows, get him talking, communicating.  Get him a book about animation, or one that goes along with what he watches (Power Rangers?  Why not?)   You will probably find that he is articulate and interested.  Video games, bikes, whatever.  Start where he is at, however silly it seems.  

 

I also find that when my daughter is bored she has often loved having a clipboard, paper, sketchbook or pencil right where she sits on the couch to pick up whenever she wants.   She also loved reading the baby board books to her little sister, one word per page at the time.  Why not?

 

ETA: On the slower side of things:  my youngest took a long time to recognize letters, she doesn't read at nearly six, though she can sound a word out painfully.  My 7.5 *just* started writing more often, after resisting for years.  Both disliked anything resembling a lesson, even just pointing something out reading sometimes.  And both went from not really "getting" something for a long time to suddenly understanding a concept and flying with it a ways.  (Learning is not always gradual, in fact not usually at all.  More often, it is disorganized and choppy.)  

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#23 of 29 Old 08-26-2012, 09:40 PM
 
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I get you.  And I have no good answer.  My girls are *not* gifted, but they seem to be picking things up at a reasonable pace.  Unusually, they love to share *all* their discoveries with me, so it is easy to know pretty much right where they are at.  I have been told this can be unusual, so I can't credit it to any learning style.  You are right, it is easier to trust when children are precocious.

 

Two things make things easy for me and my family, and this is why I have no good answer:  I have been contemplating HSing since at least a decade before the girls were born, and as a hippy anarchist, things like trusting in a child's ability to learn has come easy to me because I was right there mentally in the first place.  The other easy thing is that my girls seem to be curious about everything, and that could just be the way the dice landed.

 

Two practical things have helped me relax though, and I don't share this advice as an unschooler, but as someone who prefers to delay academics.  One was that for nearly 2 years I have kept a simple calendar/diary on which I recorded every remotely "schoolish" things we did or that the girls shared.  It was extremely helpful, and I only recently stopped doing it so intricately (I have still needed to develop some more trust).

 

The second thing I have done is just to be interested in everything myself.  I don't try, it's just how I am, and I can be a bit of a dweeb about it.  ("How'd we start talking about this, mama?"-- I hear that all the time.)

 

A young child so much younger takes up so much time and attention, and it could be that your son craves the attention that he can't get the way he wants.  And that is a problem I've never had to deal with right now, at the age when you start thinking "I need to start homeschooling".  I dealt with that long before most people even consider it.  So, that's why my advice isn't really all that great.

 

I have heard that you don't need to start with anything academic.  Start where he is at.  If he watches TV, ask him what he likes about his shows, get him talking, communicating.  Get him a book about animation, or one that goes along with what he watches (Power Rangers?  Why not?)   You will probably find that he is articulate and interested.  Video games, bikes, whatever.  Start where he is at, however silly it seems.  

 

I also find that when my daughter is bored she has often loved having a clipboard, paper, sketchbook or pencil right where she sits on the couch to pick up whenever she wants.   She also loved reading the baby board books to her little sister, one word per page at the time.  Why not?

 

ETA: On the slower side of things:  my youngest took a long time to recognize letters, she doesn't read at nearly six, though she can sound a word out painfully.  My 7.5 *just* started writing more often, after resisting for years.  Both disliked anything resembling a lesson, even just pointing something out reading sometimes.  And both went from not really "getting" something for a long time to suddenly understanding a concept and flying with it a ways.  (Learning is not always gradual, in fact not usually at all.  More often, it is disorganized and choppy.)  

 

SweetSilver, although I am not an unschooler, I really enjoy reading your perspective.  It gives me more confidence as a homeschooler to know that learning will happen as long as I continue to give it opportunities to take place.  So, thank you for sharing ever so generously.  

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I have tried asking him in the past, but it was after we had been arguing, so I need to approach it again. Although, for him, it doesn't matter what time of day it is-he is spoiling for a fight. Ugh!

 

Try different things and see which approach sticks.  Mine like the consistent schedule, maybe yours is more apt to a more unschooly approach or something in between.  It takes time to figure out what works.  Reading and math is where I have decided to actively instruct. The rest, like science, history, etc seems to be happening naturally.  I am always amazed by how much the kids know.  

 

Fingers crossed you will find something that works for both of you soon!  

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#24 of 29 Old 08-27-2012, 04:15 AM
 
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I will not engage with "bored". I was not put on this earth to entertain you. Your job is to go play. Do it. But my kid isn't defiant. I don't know what I would do if she was.

Also, I wouldn't push real hard yet. I couldn't handle actively homeschooling with a baby at the same time. I would drown.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#25 of 29 Old 08-27-2012, 04:29 AM
 
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What does interest him? Surely there's something other than screen time and junk food? If there truly isn't, then I would unplug the TV and see what pops up. He'll probably go through a spate of whining boredom if you unplug him, but I'd encourage you to weather it. Make it clear that his boredom is his to solve. You might provide a little guidance, like "Think about whether you want to do something here, or in your room, or outside." Or "I'll give you five possibilities that I can think of, but if you don't like any of them, you'll have to think of your own ideas. I'm sure you can figure something out." 

 

My eldest dd was extremely oppositional. What she needed was lots of autonomy. Tons of it. Things were much better when we just let her organize her own life. but she liked to put blame for her own mistakes and her own negative feelings on others. We just made an effort not to let that stuff stick: if she wanted to control her life, she couldn't get angry at other people when her own choices (or lack of choices) led to consequences she didn't like. We'd help her work through problems, but we wouldn't let the blame stick, and we wouldn't let her spew negativity around. Meaning we just wouldn't engage with her, wouldn't argue, wouldn't get into control battles. We'd just shrug and express confidence that she could work things out.

 

We ended up being unschoolers. And she (eventually) ended up being incredibly driven and self-motivated. All that intensity eventually got used for good. wink1.gif

 

Miranda

Off topic, but that is just what I needed to read this morning! Original poster, I am sorry I don't have much to offer. My heart goes out to you. You want what is best for your child and you are willing to work at it and some times is is just.so.frustrating! I hope things even out with your DS. I have realized there is an adjustment period and kids learn so differently from each other. Hopefully you can tune it to what does make him tick and go from there.

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#26 of 29 Old 08-27-2012, 05:03 AM
 
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Here's a question I have for you as an unschooler...how DO you let go and trust that they will learn what they need?? I believe in the theory, but have a hard time trusting that they will actually pick stuff up. I think that part of this is because I see a lot of people writing that they let their child learn on their own, but then that statement is followed them saying their child was reading by 4, doing math/geography/quantum physics by the time they were 6. (and I do not meant his snarkily!! ) My friends have a little girl who is 4 months older than my DD and she knows all her letters already-not in preschool either. My Dd knows T, O, and possibly M. And has no real interest in learning the rest at this point, although I know she is as bright as my friend's little girl. I don't want to fail my kids, you know?

I think more reading about the benefits of delayed academics can help at this stage.  Basically, it seems that by the time most kids are around 11, those without clear learning difficulties have caught up with the kids who were pushed early.  My son (who's 6) doesn't know all his letters, is not reliable in counting and grouping objects beyond 5.  However, he periodically asks me to write things, he asks me to read signs, he plays with letter stamps and he LOVES being read to.  He asks how many of things he needs for making things, is capable of dividing things with his sister, routinely sorts and groups things in a variety of ways that are useful/interesting/beautiful to him, asks about measuring time, etc.  So I know he is curious about reading writing and numbers... I imagine that as his needs for information increase, his curiosity will become more acute and that will lead to the concrete acquisition of skills.  If he doesn't show more concrete progress by the time he's 8 or 9, I suppose I would start to look out for signs of potential obstacles and addressing them.  It might not be so easy for me to feel calm then.   A bunch of his friends of the same age seem to be in a similar place skill wise.  

 

DK is a publisher.  The book we had was a translation of this http://www.amazon.com/Weapon-Visual-History-Arms-Armor/dp/075666540X/ref=sr_1_2?

ie=UTF8&qid=1346068806&sr=8-2&keywords=DK+weapons+visual+history

 

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#27 of 29 Old 08-27-2012, 08:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JuniperBCN View Post

 

DK is a publisher.  The book we had was a translation of this http://www.amazon.com/Weapon-Visual-History-Arms-Armor/dp/075666540X/ref=sr_1_2?

ie=UTF8&qid=1346068806&sr=8-2&keywords=DK+weapons+visual+history

 

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I loved this book.  Also, "Castle" has a wonderful, detailed history of battlements and medieval battle.  DD was really into ancient weapons for a while.  

 

They don't have to be at the "right" reading level to enjoy these kinds of books.  While my girls love all kinds of books, the ones that occupy *them* for hours are the ones written for older kids and adults, no matter that they can't read them well or at all.  It is the same with our neighbor and her 5yo son.  He can sit for 10 minutes for a kids' story and love it and that's about all the sitting time he is ever able to do-- except when a big book on the history of logging and chainsaws makes it home from the library.  He can't read a word, they are huge, wordy books for adults, but they engage him for an extraordinarily long time.  Just like my girls, he'll sit alone and look through for hours (meaning more than one!  orngtongue.gif  I'm not talking 4 or 5 here....)


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#28 of 29 Old 08-27-2012, 12:23 PM
 
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They don't have to be at the "right" reading level to enjoy these kinds of books.  While my girls love all kinds of books, the ones that occupy *them* for hours are the ones written for older kids and adults, no matter that they can't read them well or at all.  It is the same with our neighbor and her 5yo son.  He can sit for 10 minutes for a kids' story and love it and that's about all the sitting time he is ever able to do-- except when a big book on the history of logging and chainsaws makes it home from the library.  He can't read a word, they are huge, wordy books for adults, but they engage him for an extraordinarily long time.  Just like my girls, he'll sit alone and look through for hours (meaning more than one!  orngtongue.gif  I'm not talking 4 or 5 here....)

yeahthat.gif  We ALWAYS have this kind of book and my kids are the same... they look and look and look.  Sometimes they ask questions and that leads us to reading parts or looking up stuff on the internet, documentaries, series, etc.  We've looked a lot at ones regarding knights, pirates, castles, families and houses from around the world, human body, animals, geology/minerals/precious stones, circus and dance, Egyptians, Romans, Native Americans, different mythologies, explorers, inventions.  Usborne, DK, Larrousse and National Geographic publish a lot of these.  I think the most important thing in my house is that they have good quality, engaging visuals.  I know my kids absorb information from these and so while my oldest "lags" in skills that school kids his age are supposed to have, he's got a lot of information that they haven't explored yet. I grab them from the library based on what I see them watching or playing at, or what they have enjoyed in the past, and leave them scattered around different, relaxing places in the house.  While they often get picked up and enjoyed, sometimes they get ignored and as a far as I'm concerned, that's fine.

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#29 of 29 Old 08-29-2012, 02:51 PM
 
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He is still so little! He should be spending the bulk of his time playing..outdoors preferably. His other free time should be shadowing you as you work around the house, using open ended toys indoors, being read to and exploring! Don't worry about anything formal for a long while. I would, however, use the time to work on his argumentative nature! Read Easy. To Love, Difficult to Discipline. I have an argumentative child who s now 13 and I learned that she was picking up. A lot from us and our ways! I made an effort to change and slowly but surely, she mirrored the changes! Kids are sponges and mirrors!

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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